In a series of recent statements in public, notably on June 9 the Italian Archbishop Carlo Viganò, still today member of the Church’s official hierarchy, has stood out from the mass of his colleagues in that hierarchy by taking a severe view of Vatican II. Now comes an Italian theologian, Fr. Alfredo Morselli, who seeks to moderate Archbishop Viganò’s severity not exactly by defending the Council, but by arguing for instance that it is not alone responsible for the crisis that has come over the Church in the years following the Council. Let us look at his “Thesis on the Council” which he has made public in nine main points and eight sub-points, here abbreviated:—
1 The present crisis is of unprecedented gravity, essentially neo-modernist, but much graver than the original modernist crisis at the beginning of the 20th century.
2 However, Vatican II is not simply the cause of the present crisis, because:
2.1 The crisis began long before 1960,
2.2 its neo-modernism would never have taken root without the deep corruption of modern man, and
2.3 similarly the pontificate of Pope Francis was prepared long before the 21st century.
3 We must distinguish between the Council itself and the post-Council, or aftermath of the Council:
3.1 The Council cannot be blamed for all errors attributed to it, even if they were done in its name,
3.2 The Holy Spirit was at the Council, so that one cannot say there was no good at all in the Council.
4 The Council texts do include ambiguous formulae, which give the neo-modernists an opening.
5 Almost all these problems have been solved subsequently by official Church Declarations.
6 The problems represent not so much errors as the desire to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
7 A tragic example of that desire is the Council’s refusal to condemn Communism.
8 Calling the Council “pastoral” does not mean that there is nothing dogmatic in its pronouncements.
9 One may only criticize the Council in accordance with Church teaching on the Faith. Hence
9.1 Faith means believing God, i.e. accepting and not choosing what truths one will believe.
9.2 The Catholic Church’s Magisterium is the prime decider of which are those truths to believe.
9.3 That Magisterium is not open to private interpretation. It alone can interpret its own decisions.
And now the briefest of comments on each of these positions of Fr Morselli:—
1 This introductory point lays down how far Fr Morselli agrees with Archbishop Viganò. Bravo!
2 Who would blame an explosion exclusively on the detonator? Of course there must be explosives.
2.1 Indeed Vatican II had a long ancestry, notably the Protestant “Reformation” and 1789’s Revolution.
2.2 Absolutely true. The deep corruption of modern man has been centuries in the making.
2.3 Also true. Five Popes neo-modernist in principle prepared the sixth, merely blatantly so in practice.
3 Beware! – is he who unbolts the stable-door not to be blamed for the horse running away?
3.1 “I never meant for the horse to run away. I only wanted for it to be free to gallop in the sunshine!”
3.2 The Holy Spirit stopped the Council from being even worse, but left the Bishops their free-will . . .
4 The deadly ambiguities were planted by the neo-modernists, allowed to pass by the “Catholics.”
5 These “clarifications” in which Fr Morselli believes usually do not clarify, but maintain the problem.
6 Alas, it is the very desire to be inclusive that makes doors once firmly shut, open again to error.
7 Archbishop Lefebvre said, the refusal to condemn Communism will stigmatise this Council for ever.
8 Dreadful ambiguity: the “pastoral” Council was not dogmatic, but had to be followed like dogma!
9 “The poison is in the tail” – at the end, Fr Morselli falls back on the argument of Authority! –
9.1 Of course we must believe what truly comes from God, and not choose ourselves what to believe.
9.2 And of course, if God demands belief, as He does, He owes us an infallible Magisterium to decide.
9.3 But that Magisterium consists of fallible Church officials with free-will, which God will not take away, and if, exceptionally, they fail in their duty, He expects the sheep to judge them by their fruits.
In brief, Archbishop Viganò’s severity, judging Vatican II by its fruits, surpasses Fr. Morselli’s Authority.